New study with Fitbit and Quest Diagnostics looks at wearable devices and metabolic health

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A healthy metabolism impacts how your body processes nutrients, generates energy and builds immunity. Whereas, an unhealthy metabolism can contribute to physical deterioration and eventually cause disease.

While genes influence metabolic health, there are also lifestyle factors that can affect metabolism, like diet, exercise and sleep. At Fitbit, we wanted to understand how using wearable devices to track daily habits and health metrics can help people better understand and improve their metabolic health to stay healthier.

Today, we’re launching the WEAR-ME Study focused on how wearable devices can assess metabolic health. In partnership with Quest Diagnostics, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information, the study will help us discover insights to build tools that can help everyone maintain and improve their metabolic health.

The importance of metabolic health

An impaired metabolism has implications across health, including stress on the cardiovascular system and premature aging. Metabolic deterioration is also a leading cause of conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol and Type 2 Diabetes.

Maintaining metabolic health is a challenge for most people, regardless of their weight. Some estimates indicate that only 12% of adult Americans are metabolically healthy. With this study, we hope to find ways for people to better understand their metabolic health and implement lifestyle changes to build a healthier life.

How wearable devices can help

Staying active, avoiding stress, eating a healthy diet, and getting high-quality sleep are key aspects people can control that contribute to a healthy metabolism.

With wearables, like Pixel smartwatches and Fitbit trackers, we can also measure biometric signals for a more holistic look into health such as heart rate, heart rate variability, sleep cycles, and stress levels. These signals may contain information that could allow AI and machine learning algorithms to detect early signs of metabolic deterioration.

In addition to those biometric signals, biomarker data that can only be found in blood samples is essential for studying how wearable devices can be used to assess metabolic health. With Quest, eligible study participants can share their Fitbit data along with biomarker data received as part of a free blood draw facilitated by Quest that includes a comprehensive metabolic panel and measuring cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin levels.

Collecting data from opted-in wearable devices and combining it with the results from these blood tests will help us develop algorithms that assess metabolic health and inform early interventions and adoption of lifestyle changes to prevent the onset of disease.

How to participate in the study

If you’re interested in being a part of the WEAR-ME study, it’s open for enrollment today through the Google Health Studies app. To be eligible for participation, Pixel Watch or Fitbit users must be between the ages of 21 and 80, based in the United States (except Hawaii, Alaska and Arizona), and use an Android phone. Participants must be willing and able to go to one of thousands of Quest Diagnostics Patient Service Centers for a blood draw. In addition, participants will be asked to complete four questionnaires and share their Fitbit data for the three months prior to joining the study and for the duration of the study. Study participants will have a period of 70 days to complete the study.

The data collected will be handled in accordance with strict ethical standards. It will only be used for research and to develop better products. The data will never be sold or used for advertising purposes.

This research is just one of many important studies underway that are helping us build better tools, empower individuals to understand and proactively stay on top of their health habits, and advance our goal of making everyone healthier.

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